The University of British Columbia’s Pulp and Paper Centre (PPC) has received $2.7 million to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions of one of B.C.’s largest industries by 50 per cent before 2020.
The grant, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and a consortium of 16 mechanical pulp companies, invests in the expertise and infrastructure of UBC’s PPC and in new approaches to innovations developed by researchers from the Universities of British Columbia, Victoria, and Toronto. The goal is to realize energy savings of more than 1000 GWh/y, roughly enough to power 100,000 homes.
“The pulp sector is of strategic importance to the province and the economic prosperity of our rural communities,” says Professor James Olson, director of the centre. “We are committed to improving the energy efficiency of this renewable and sustainable industry.”
The award will be used to equip the centre with the latest equipment, as well as to attract and support the best graduate students to work with professors and senior researchers on these projects. More than nine inter-related projects will develop new processes with novel sensors and advanced computer control to significantly reduce the energy consumed in the current process in B.C. mills.
“We are committed to sustainably producing pulp products and investigating ways to improve our environmental performance while making our pulp and paper business more competitive,” says Peter Rippon, vice-president, Pulp and Energy at West Fraser, a partner involved in the collaboration.
The mechanical pulp industry is the largest industrial consumer of electricity in British Columbia, consuming approximately eight per cent of BC Hydro’s electricity generation.
“This project is well-aligned with BC Hydro’s long term goals, including conservation, customer satisfaction and innovation,” said Steve Hobson, director for Power Smart. “The goal to produce mechanical pulp with 50 per cent less energy is potentially a great benefit to our pulp and paper customers, the economy, resource development and the environment overall.”